The Shepherd Alliance unites student interns from Baylor University; Berea, Middlebury, Morehouse and Spelman colleges; Washington and Lee University law and undergraduate programs; and participating Bonner Scholar institutions with agencies that work to benefit impoverished members of society. Students learn firsthand about the multiple dimensions of poverty in the United States by working for eight weeks to strengthen impoverished communities and work alongside individuals seeking to improve their communities.
Shepherd Alliance interns are challenged; they learn to cope with a job and with living in a new setting. They learn about poverty and they learn about themselves. The knowledge and skills gained often change their outlook for their futures, and students who participate intending to do good for others usually return from their summer exclaiming they benefited from far more than they contributed.
The agencies they serve benefit greatly, as well. Located in various urban and rural sites in the United States, they focus on education, healthcare, legal services, housing, hunger, social and economic needs, and community-building efforts. Students work with agencies that fit their intellectual interests in order to develop their experience and skills for future civic involvement and employment.